Yesterday, before I took a major leap of faith and released something near and dear to me into the universe, I said a prayer. While I am a pretty transparent person, I rarely share my prayer life with the world. I will not lie, discussing my prayer life openly makes me feel a little hokie! Today, I decided to share because, during my prayer, I was able to clearly articulate four things that I am thankful for. The things that make me the “perfectly imperfect” person that I am.
Think about it. How many times are you asked, “what are you thankful for?” I know amongst my circle of family and friends that is an all too common question, especially around Thanksgiving. And, even though I know the question is coming, I always give one of the same bland responses:
I am thankful for my family.
I am thankful for my friends.
I am thankful to be alive.
So, as I was openly talking to God yesterday, in addition to asking for constant protection and peace, I began to say thank you because I am truly thankful for the life that I have, even with all of its twists and turns. I also took a moment to reflect and figure out why I am truly thankful. Here is what I came up with:
I am thankful that God gave me the gift of strength.
The reality is, no matter how hard you try to control outcomes, sh!# happens. It is at these times that you must rely on your strength. I would not be the woman that I am today if I were not forced to find, and trust, my strength. Strength allows me to focus on the ultimate goal, despite all of the curve balls thrown my way. And for that I am thankful.
My twenty-year old daughter has a personality very much like I had at her age. She believes if she is super organized, and hyper vigilant about planning, everything in life will run smoothly. As a result, just like I did when I was younger, she falls apart when things don’t go as planned. Seeing so much of myself in her, and wanting to protect her from the stress, anxiety, and disappointment I experienced when things did not go as planned, I have been quick to step in and be her “fixer”.
Recently, I had an aha moment. Stepping in and fixing things for my daughter has deprived her of the opportunity to lean on, and know, her own strength. While I have been going through “fixer withdrawal” (yes, I have relapsed a time or two), I have enjoyed watching my daughter figure some “ish” out on her own. Of course she is not dancing with joy right now about this revelation that I have had, but I believe she will thank me in the future.
I am thankful to have the gift of being driven. While my drive, quite frankly, drives some people crazy; without it, I would not be able to push myself on a daily basis to seek “Black Excellence”. The gift of being driven has allowed me to believe I can do anything I put my mind to through “hard work and dedication”. The gift of being driven makes me wake up every day wondering how I will contribute to the world in a positive way. The gift of being driven makes me work hard as an expression of gratitude for those that came before me and paved a path that allows me to be excellent.
Of course, being driven and willing to take chances doesn’t mean that I don’t experience failure. In fact, I fail, or lose, quite a bit. Fortunately, I have been blessed with the gift of resilience. Resilience allows me to pick myself up after the failures, brush myself off, and keep striving for excellence. Resilience allows me to, in the words of Chance the Rapper, turn all my L’s into Lessons.
Finally, I am blessed to have the gift of intelligence. I was quite frankly, shocked to hear myself saying thank you for the gift of intelligence.
A couple of days ago I was talking to someone dear to me. I explained how I have gone through life quite a bit “dumbing down”. “Dumbing down” is a habit that I developed after being told on a number of occasions that I am too intense or too serious. “Dumbing down” is a habit that I developed in an effort to “fit in”.
As part of my journey to self-love, I went through a stage where I was embarrassed about my decision to “dumb down”. I questioned why I felt I had to alter myself in order to put others at ease. The more I grew, the more I realized, I didn’t. Intelligence is not a curse and it is not my responsibility to put others at ease with who I am. Rather than “dumb down” I am learning to embrace that I am not everyone’s “cup of tea” and that’s okay.
Intelligence is necessary in my quest for “Black Excellence”, and a gift that I finally appreciate.
Have you all considered what you are truly thankful for? If so, please share. I love reading your comments.